【NEWS】International students and scholars in the Lantern Festival at Jiying Temple

On February 24th, the Lantern Festival day, the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS) brought together foreign students and scholars from the College of Social Sciences (CSS) to participate in the Lantern Festival event at Jiying Temple in Muzha. This collaboration is not the first between Jiying Temple and IMAS. In December 2023, IMAS held a holiday celebration at the temple, featuring an indigenous-style roasted pig.

Building on the success of their previous collaboration, Jiying Temple invited IMAS to participate in the Lantern Festival. IMAS students and CSS scholars, holding torches and lanterns joined hundreds of residents of Muzha in a traditional folk parade. Some participants dressed up as different deities In the parade, including God of Wealth, the Third Prince, and the Eight Generals. This was their first experience of traditional Taiwanese cultural activities.

Dr. Akachukwu Darlington Umeh, a research fellow from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, noted that in his country, carrying torches would be seen as intending to start fires or protest. He expressed surprise that in Taiwan, it is part of a celebration. Other scholars, including Raian Hossain from the University of Nottingham and Yimovie Sakue-Collins from the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, continued discussing Taiwanese culture late into the night after the event ended at nine o’clock. They all expressed a desire to participate in similar cultural activities again.

Students had photos with Nazha San Taizi, the leader of the five divine battalions that guard a temple of popular religion in Taiwan.
IMAS students embraced cultural immersion, posed with Ba Jiajiang (eight retainer deities)
Nigerian student Yimovie Sakue-Collins joyfully engaged in cultural exchange, sharing fist bumps with Eight Masters
Students captured joyful moments in Lantern Festival Parade.